12 Hours of Sebring
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The track opened in 1950 on an airfield and is a road racing course styled after those used in European Grand Prix motor racing. The race is now considered one of the premier endurance races in the United States and is famous for its "once around the clock" action, starting during the day and finishing at night. For many years Sebring was part of the World Sportscar Championship.
The race has a rich history, as legendary drivers such as Stirling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jacky Ickx, Briggs Cunningham, Lake Underwood, and Mario Andretti and manufacturers such as Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Jaguar, Cunningham, and Ford have all been victorious.
Since the 24 Hours of Daytona are part of the Grand-Am only, the Sebring race is now the season opening event in the American Le Mans Series. It is known as an excellent preparation for the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans, as the track's extremely bumpy surface, combined with South Florida's perennial hot weather, is a true test of a car's reliability. In recent years, six overall victories have been achieved by the all-conquering Audi R8, one shy of the seven wins of the Porsche 935 since 1978.
Fans are allowed to camp inside the green of the race track, starting several days before the actual race. They can bear witness to many practice and qualification races, as well as a vintage race. There are several classes of tickets, anywhere from full-access to simply the (usually Saturday) actual race.
Within the track is a Midway, containing everything from souvenirs and official merchandise, to hot coffee and cold beer.
In 2005, the Chevrolet Corvette C6R and Aston Martin DB9R made their race debut in the hotly contested GT1 class, with Aston Martin winning for the first time in 49 years at Sebring ahead of the two Corvettes. Corvette had dominated the class the past three years with its previous generation C5R.
The all-new Audi R10 TDI won the 2006 edition of the race, the car's first ever run in competition. The victory set the stage for an even more momentous win by the R10 in its next race, the Le Mans 24 Hours later in the year. The much-hyped Porsche RS Spyder campaigned by Penske Racing dropped to take 2nd place in its LMP2 class, behind the Intersport Lola car. The GT1 Corvette C6R team got their revenge against the Aston Martin, although the second Corvette came within 1/3 of a second of the podium in the closing laps of the race.